Bring on the Big Guns!
As well as converting French vans into coffee-carts, Custom Metalshapers Ltd are also assisting NZ Military Vehicles Collectors’ Club (NZMVCC) chairman, Peter Yates, with his Chevrolet FAT60 (Field Artillery Tractor). Manufactured on 28th November, 1941, this beast entered service that year with the NZ Army under the number NZ3944 and was still active as of 24th February, 1949 with the Otago Regiment’s Coastal Defence Battery. The Chev was subsequently sold by the Government Stores Board in the mid to late ’50s and it was acquired by the NZ Broadcoasting Corporation (NZBC). They cut away the vehicle’s rear section to fit an emergency diesel generator and, in this way, the Chev served as the emergency power source for the NZBC repeater above Reefton for over 20 years.
The FAT60 was saved by a local enthusiast in 1974 and partially restored over the following years. The chassis and running gear has been extensively restored over the past 18 months, with new engine, brakes, brake lines, fuel system, electrics and, of course, a virtually new body has been fabricated by the team at Custom Metalshapers using surviving examples at the Army Museum as their point of reference.
We look forward to seeing this historic military vehicle pulling an ammo trailer and 25–pounder gun sometime in 2015.